Student Voice


November 28, 2023


Celebration set for late math professor Bob Coffman

August 19, 2022

A celebration of life for former UW-River Falls mathematics Professor Robert Lorell "Bob" Coffman is scheduled Sunday, Aug. 28, in St. Paul. Coffman died July 17 at the age of 63.

Coffman taught for 34 years at UWRF, serving nine years as chair of the Department of Mathematics. In 2016, he earned an Excellence in Advising Award for his work with students. A cancer diagnosis forced him to retire early in 2021.

Professor Emeritus Bob Coffman
Professor Emeritus Bob Coffman (1958-2022)

He was born in 1958 in Victorville, California, to John and Lena Coffman. Coffman earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics in 1980 from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, and his doctorate in mathematics in 1990 from the University of Minnesota.

Coffman married Victoria "Vicki" Phelps in 1991 and the couple raised two daughters. He enjoyed camping, hiking, and biking with his family and friends. Coffman delighted in being outdoors and took special pleasure in stargazing.

He is survived by his wife, Vicki; daughters, Dena Coffman and Alice Coffman; mother, Lena Coffman; sisters, Andrea Coffman (Larry Schulze), Valerie Coffman, and Suzanne Coffman; stepsister, Lori (Dean) Eaton; and stepbrother, William Michael "Mike" Doyle. He also leaves behind an aunt, an uncle, many cousins, two nieces and a nephew. He was preceded in death by his father, John Coffman, Jr.; stepmother, Frances Lynette "Lyn" Coffman; four aunts; and four uncles.

The celebration of life is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Midway Picnic Pavilion in Como Park, 1199 Midway Parkway, St. Paul.

Memorial donations may be directed to the Robert "Bob" Coffman Mathematics Scholarship at UWRF, either online ( or by check mailed to UW-River Falls Foundation, 118 North Hall, 410 S Third St, River Falls, WI 54022. Include "Bob Coffman Mathematics Scholarship" on the memo line.